Alabama Senate Democrats have called on Gov. Robert Bentley to reconsider his decision opposing the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Democrats announced Medicaid expansion as their legislative agenda for 2013 at a State House news conference held last month. They see this as an “opportunity for 300,000 additional people to get adequate medical care in Alabama.” Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, leader of the Senate minority, said expansion would also build the state’s economy. She observed:
It is projected that the State of Alabama would generate $20 billion in new economic activities and almost a billion in state tax revenues over the next six years.
Gov. Bentley announced in November he would not expand Medicaid in its current structure under the Act. At that time he also announced the state would not set up a health insurance exchange under the law. So far, the Governor hasn’t changed his mind, but there is always hope. I have tremendous respect for Gov. Bentley, and really like him, but I believe his stand on Medicaid is wrong. We have an opportunity to not only make Medicaid work better in Alabama, but also to greatly improve healthcare in our state. In my opinion, we can’t afford to let the opportunity pass us by.
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